The Pandemic Institute has awarded half a million pounds to Liverpool researchers to help tackle the growing threat of monkeypox.
The viral infection is spreading rapidly in Europe with 2,208 cases (as of 21 July 2022) in the UK prompting the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”.
The projects include research on the origins of the outbreak in Africa, studies of transmission and spread, development of rapid diagnostics, investigation of the body’s immune response to help vaccine development, studies of new drug treatments, and understanding of stigma around the disease.
One of the projects is led by LJMU and focusses on public understanding of the virus and its spread.
Psychology of health
Dr Mark Forshaw, an expert in the psychology of health, said: “I’m delighted to be working with The Pandemic Institute on this global issue. In order to contain the outbreak it is vital that the public understands this virus, how it spreads and how best to treat it.”
Professor Tom Solomon CBE, Director of The Pandemic Institute as well as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections said: “We are currently dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in the UK and beyond. It is important for us to respond quickly to this emerging threat.
“In just a matter of weeks The Pandemic Institute has identified, via a peer review process, eleven high- priority projects to address this new threat, and respond to the G7 challenge of producing diagnostics, treatments and vaccines within 100 days of a major emerging infection.
This monkeypox funding call has a total budget of £484,257 and covers all TPI domain principles to “Predict, Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover” from emerging infection threats.”
The new projects all include at least two of The Pandemic Institute’s seven founding partners (University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Knowledge Quarter (KQ) Liverpool and Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), plus a policy project in partnership with the World Health Organisation.
The Pandemic Institute’s mission is to accelerate the response to emerging infection threats, unify global intelligence and increase the reach and impact of research in this area. Through its founding partners, the Institute has an impressive breadth of world-leading clinical, academic, public health and data-driven expertise.